Pushing for living wages

The struggle to get by is one most of us can relate to. From the rent to the groceries, there are a lot of bills that pile up every month. Then if we consider the little surprises that come up, like your car breaking down or an unexpected health concern, life suddenly gets even more expensive. Now imagine dealing with all of that on a salary that doesn’t even cover the necessities.

Living wages are a human right. Everyone should receive a wage that covers his or her basic needs, yet the wages earned by the people who make your clothes are not liveable.

Despite decades of talk about living wages, workers have seen little action. We need a new normal. We need to change the industry. 

Our message to brands is simple: Get more money to the people who make your products. Now.

Our groundbreaking Fair Price App and other tools help brands, suppliers, trade unions and others understand how increasing wages will affect product costs. Such understanding is uncommon in the garment industry. Brands and factory owners alike are often surprised to find that it is possible to increase wages and still compete in this cutthroat industry.

We look to ‘beacons’— or cases where we work with leading Fair Wear members to raise wages — as the starting point for industry change. Based on these experiences, we develop tools and guidance to help others also become beacons. We then share these tools and insights with stakeholders far beyond Fair Wear to create widespread wage improvements for the people who make our clothes.

We invite all stakeholders to join us in this great experiment in raising wages across the industry. Living wages are indeed becoming… the new normal.

Check out our Living Wage Tools

Improving due diligence, wages, and equity for women in the Turkish garment sector

In 2022, the RVO funded Fair Wear to conduct research on transforming the business practices of three Fair Wear member brands – King Louie, Schijvens and Kuyichi – and 25 of their Turkish suppliers. 

The aim of the project is to identify, analyse, and test specific policies and actions that garment brands and suppliers can implement to improve their human rights due diligence (HRDD) and responsible business conduct around two focus areas:  

  1. payment of a living wage; and, 
  2. gender equality, with a focus on violence and harassment. 

Project A 

Project A will provide in-depth research among factory workers and suppliers in Türkiye as well as in the Netherlands with brands buying from Turkish suppliers, focussing on purchasing practices on payment of a living wage and incidences of violence and harassment in garment factories. 

Project B 

In Project B, Fair Wear and the three partner brands will implement the recommendations developed based on the findings made in Project A. Activities will range from capacity building of local organisations to trainings with suppliers and brands, and more.  

The aim is to see that the best practices and tools identified in Project A and developed by the partner brands in Project B are disseminated and implemented by brands and their suppliers from across the industry.  

Three reports will be published in May and June 2023. 

To learn more, please see here.


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Fair Wear's Living Wage Policy

This document outlines Fair Wear's policy regarding living wages.